The fight against COVID-19 will be boosted by a massive influx of medical professionals who are no longer practising.
The fight against COVID-19 will be boosted by a massive influx of medical professionals who are no longer practising.

SOS call for retired medical workers and students

More than 40,000 experienced retired health professionals and a generation of final year medical students have been called upon to bolster our medical force to battle the pandemic.

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and National Boards have announced a new pandemic "sub-register" to fast track the return to the workforce of experienced and qualified health practitioners, with 40,000 professionals across the country qualifying for the program.

In the massive effort to boost the state's frontline services, NSW Health is also working with universities to identify final year medical students who could boost the medical workforce and free up resources to respond to the pandemic.

 

A sign at St Vincent’s Hospital pointing to a COVID-19 clinic. Picture: Getty Images
A sign at St Vincent’s Hospital pointing to a COVID-19 clinic. Picture: Getty Images

The students will work under supervision in non-Covid wards to free other experts up for the pandemic - they will need to be assessed as having skills and capabilities to undertake the work.

 

 

It comes amid fears that as the nation increases intensive care beds, there will not be enough intensive care nurses to staff them.

Health ministers across the country have asked the peak registration bodies to enable medical professionals to quickly return to practice.

The short term sub-register will enable doctors, nurses, midwives and pharmacists who have previously held general or specialist registration in the past thee years to return.

"Only those who are properly qualified, competent and suitable will be returned to the register," a statement said.

AHPRA will now be contacting 40,000 practitioners who meet the criteria to alert them they will be added to the sub register.

AHPRA boss Martin Fletcher said the measures hoped to quickly inject more health professionals into the system.

"We want more of our critical health practitioners available to work as part of the health system in

responding to the pandemic. Patient safety remains an important focus and registered practitioners

who were subject to regulatory action in the past three years will not be re-registered," he said.

"Employers and health departments will also play an important role by undertaking employment and probity checks and providing any induction and training which may be needed," he added.

Originally published as SOS call for retired medical workers, students


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